Sheryl Fish didn't see golf as an avocation. Instead, she saw it as the family business.
She played on the golf team at Maumee High School, then majored in sports marketing and management at Indiana University before she returned to Toledo, where she learned the ropes of running a golf course.
Her father, Greg, is the co-owner, general manager and PGA master professional at South Toledo Golf Club. In her first few years out of school, she worked at the course, seemingly poised to take the reins from her father.
But she made a life-changing decision that would ultimately mean leaving Toledo.
When an opening for a marketing position became available on the LPGA's developmental tour towards the end of 2007, she applied, e-mailing her resume to the organization's Daytona Beach, Fla., headquarters.
"I did it, not knowing if anything would happen," Fish recalled.
Two months later, the LPGA called, asking her if she would be interested in a newly-created position that involved working with corporate partnerships. And relocating to Florida.
More than four years later, Fish returns to northwest Ohio for the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic, which is back on the LPGA schedule after a one-year hiatus.
Fish, a 1996 Maumee graduate, is a senior coordinator for partnership services of the Symetra Tour, the LPGA's developmental tour (previously known as the LPGA Futures Tour).
In her current position with the LPGA, Fish helps manage the tour's commercial and business sponsorships, and she'll be part of the contingent that works with Symetra, a Washington-based finanical services company.
"I knew that once she went to college, she wanted to get involved with a professional sports organization," Greg Fish said. "She interned with a few organizations in college, and I knew she was looking for a job in that direction. I knew she wouldn't be at the golf course for long."
Yet her start in working in golf wasn't glamorous; when she was in elementary school, her first responsibilities working at the South Toledo Golf Club included washing golf carts.
"When you're in a family business, you work until the job is done," Greg Fish said. "It's not something where you work a 9-to-5 shift. Whatever had to be done, we did it, and a lot of times that involved a lot of different responsibilities."
When she returned to the her family's course after graduating from Indiana in 2000, Fish became an assistant manager and handled marketing for the course's events, including maintaining a Web site, overseeing mass-email marketing and arranging for advertising.
Fish and her family annually attended the Jamie Farr Classic when she was a youngster growing up in Holland, later moving to the Maumee school district.
"It's one of those staples you expect to see every year," Sheryl Fish said. "We have the Mud Hens here, and we have the Farr Classic every year. The players really enjoy coming to this tournament because the community embraces it. There's always that bond there, since it was always one of the oldest tournaments in the LPGA."
This year, she'll see things at the Jamie Farr Classic from the business side.
"I do a lot of interaction with the developmental tour," Fish said. "I manage the tour partners, handle relationships with the businesses that are involved."
With her responsibilities comes travel. From the LPGA headquarters in Daytona Beach, Fish has criss-crossed the country several times during the course of the season for both LPGA events and Symetra Tour events.
When she returns to he office in Florida, she'll be greeted by a familiar piece of memorabilia from Toledo: an original Jamie Farr Classic flag from the tournament's early years in Toledo.
"It's not necessarily a talking point when the schedule comes up," Fish said. "But it always comes up around this time of the year. People will see it and they'll say, 'hey, we're going back to your hometown!' "
Contact Rachel Lenzi at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @RLenziBlade
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